NASA Explores Open Source at Summit

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 03-31-2011 Print Email
As the U.S. government explores revamping its IT infrastructure, open source and the help of the volunteer community could be its saving grace.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.-- NASA has a simple, one-word answer for those who have ever asked any of the following questions:

Does the U.S. government use open-source software in research, testing and production? Does it develop its own software and work within a community in an open-source manner?

And does it distribute open-source software back to the community, once it's been vetted and sanctioned as ready for prime time by federal IT chiefs?

The answer to each of the above, of course, is yes. But legal caveats, fine print and the amorphous character of software itself make it much more complicated than all that.

NASA on March 29 and 30 hosted its first-ever Open Source Summit here at the Ames Research Center at the former Naval Air Station (NAS) Moffett Field, now known as the Moffett Federal Airfield. This is generally the destination for Air Force One and Air Force Two when the president and vice president visit the San Francisco Bay Area.

Speakers at the event at the event included Google free and open-source evangelist Chris DiBona; Pascal Finette, director of Mozillas Labs; Bob Sutor, vice president of Open Systems at IBM; and Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens.

The main point was to bring open-source and government software development into the front court, so more conversations can start up around the topic. It's well-known that the U.S. government needs to freshen up its whole IT apparatus, and with budgets being as tight as they are, open source and the help of a volunteer community looks like an awfully good answer for some of that project building.

For more, read the eWEEK article: NASA Hosts Its First Open Source Summit.



 

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